A blast from my early teens
After removing the rust from the Webley Hawk and taking a closer look at the name engraved in the top of the action, memories started to trickle in to my mind of using this air rifle as a teenager. Did my uncle have one he use to let me shoot up Lickey Hills?, or was it the one me and Paul Pedley used when we skived off school and take down Langly Mill to blast cans with? But there's no mistaking it, i have had dealings with this air rifle in my youth. So when this dawned on me it was a no brainer, this is the one to fix up first.
For now i just want to clean her up and reseal the piston and breech as the rifle was only putting out two ft/lb, if things look promising i might then invest in a new main spring, remove the paint and blue it, sand the stock, treat with oil and possibly varnish.
First i removed the stock which is held on with a philips head bolt at the front of the trigger guard and two longer philips head screw bolts that run 45 degrees upwards on the fore stock.
|Webley Hawk Mk ll, the best Christmas present a big kid could get in the70's.|
Using 0000 wire wool and gun oil i removed all the rust from the action and barrel, this left about 50% of the original enamaling that had not come off with rust and general wear.
|Looks almost respectable once the rust had been removed.|
There was a long crack in the stock running from the end of the cocking slot to the side of the trigger guard, i eased the crack apart and let Locktite run into as much of it as i could then pressed together for ten minutes. This works amazingly well from past experience, and any excess gets sanded of when treating the stock.
The trigger housing is welded onto the end of the compression tube, there are three pins that hold the trigger, sear, and the safety slide which are secured with circlips.
Removing the circlips then drifting the pins out allows the trigger and its tension spring to be removed then the sear, safety, and sear tension spring can slide out, i thought it best to take a photo so it would be easier to remember how to put it back together,
|The tab that bends 90 degrees to hold the trigger in place on the safety slide had snapped off|
The breech was loose in the forks so i drifted the pivot pin out and applied pressure to the forks in a vice in small stages, using rubber inner tube to protect the metal.
|The amount of old British air rifles from the 70's i have to do this to is unbeleivable|
Now it fits nice and snug with no play what so ever.
|No play in those forks any more|
I don't know what it is about British air rifles not using Screw bolts for the breech pivot, it's one of the things that do let these excellent air rifles down.
|A new breech catch spring might be in order, but the old one will do for now.|
I was very careful to catch the breech catch pin and spring, but luckily it was not under to much tension.
I also noticed the .177 barrel was moving in the breech block slightly, this just needed a hex head grub screw on top of the breech block tightening to hold it firmly.
|A hex grub screw holds the .177 barrel in place, two small hex bolts hold the rear sight on as well.|
The Webley Hawk Mk11 came with two barrels originally you could interchange, but alas i only have the .177 with this one.
The end cap came of really easily as i was able to push the retaining pin out with no pressure on the end, the spring was in pretty bad shape at one end with zero preload overall.
|Nice solid end cap, but a spring guide would help here for sure.|
The piston is quite weighty so doesn't need a spring with loads of preload as a rule, and at first glance all lubrication had dried up.
|One grubby piston with the knackered main spring next to it.|
The whole of the inside of the compression tube was generally grubby along with all of its components.
|The hand tells how dried and grubby it all was.|
There are two piston rings made of PTFE or something similar, these had become very worn over the years and quite brittle. I broke one when i removed it but the other came out in one piece, they cost about £ 20 for spares so i think i will try rubber O rings. whether it's two O rings or one O ring and the undamaged PTFE ring, it all depends on which combination gives the least friction.
|PTFE piston rings beyond repair, 19 mm ID and 2.5mm thick. However a 17 mm ID x 2.5 mm rubber O ring makes a good replacement as the 19 mm ID was to big in rubber.|
Now it was time to give the compression tube a clean with white spirits and OOOO wire wool, and definately scrub the piston down more importantly. Then white spirits on a cloth to remove any wire wool bits left behind, this was done with the aid of a rod and tape to secure the wool and cloth on.
|White spirits and wire wool shift all grime, but does tend to struggle with disintegrated buffer washers on BSA's.|
Now it was all nice and clean i spent the next hour polishing the compression chamber and piston with Autosol metal polish, it was well worth it as they were gleaming at the end of it.
|Smooth and shiny inside and out, and a bloody aching arm.|
I slipped two O rings onto the piston and tried to see if there was much resistance, though this was after i filed all the sharp edges off before i had cleaned and polished the rifle admittedly. The piston moved down the chamber with about two pounds of pressure, and moved a tiny bit and stopped still when i tried with my finger over the transfer port.
The transfer port was looking okay but i decided to rejuvenate it with some silicone grease, I also applied a smear to the piston O rings as well.
|Logun silicone grease protects and rejuvenates rubber seals, ideally used on PCP's but it's always done my breech seals the world of good.|
For now i'm going to make some slip washers and a delrin top hat and use the old spring, if it all looks good then i might invest in a new spring and treat the stock and metal work. So that's it for part one for now, part two will be real soon as all the rifle parts are sitting in a box on the kitchen table and getting in the way.
Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe